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World Class Research

The Washington University Hearing Aid Research Laboratory (WUHARL) was established in 1993 by Michael Valente as a means to measure the efficacy (“laboratory”) and effectiveness (“real world”) of performance of current hearing aid technologies. The initial primary purpose of WUHARL was to create an environment allowing the Division of Adult Audiology at Washington University in St. Louis to independently evaluate newly introduced hearing aid technologies. This in turn would enhance the services and knowledge of our Audiologists and physicians in providing the best hearing aid healthcare to our patients. In addition, our desire was to share this knowledge with Audiologists and hearing aid manufacturers around the United States and the world via presentations at conferences and submissions of the results of our work to peer and non-peer reviewed journals as well as textbooks or chapters within textbooks.

Since its inception, WUHARL has obtained $697,500 from Widex USA, Siemens Hearing Instruments, Phonak Hearing Aids, Energizer Batteries, Oticon Medical, Cochlear Americas, Sonic Innovations, GNReSound, Oaktree Products, Unitron, Verto Corporation, Vivatone Hearing Aids, BECS Technologies, Plantronics, Otologics, Audio-Logic, Bernafon, Welch-Allyn, Hearing Components, and Starkey. These grants and collaborations have resulted in 13 textbooks, 23 book chapters, 28 articles in peer reviewed journals such as the Journal of the American Academy of Audiology, International Journal of Audiology, Ear and Hearing, American Journal of Audiology, and Australian Journal of Audiology (see Appendix) and 39 articles in non-peer reviewed journals journals such as the Hearing Journal, Hearing Review, Seminars in Hearing, Canadian Report, Starkey Audiology Series, Audiologica Hoy, Audiology Today, and Trends in Amplification. In addition, the research from WUHARL has resulted in over 230 presentations in virtually every state in the United States and at conferences in Columbia, Brazil, Canada, England, France, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Taiwan, Korea, China, and Australia. Finally, WUHARL has served to provide the resources and expertise to mentor 6 AuD doctoral candidates from the Program in Audiology and Communication Sciences to complete his/her Capstone or T32 Intensive Research Year projects.

The equipment at WUHARL includes a 1.97x 2.54 x 2.73 meter double walled sound suite that contains the R-Space™ system. This system includes an eight Boston Acoustics loudspeaker array (1st in a university in the world), a Frye and Verifit hearing aid analyzer and real ear systems, a Cochlear Americas TU-1000 skull simulator, a 27” iMac workstation, MOTU Digital Performer S software, MOTU Model 828 eight-channel FireWire A/D-D/A converter and QSC CX168 eight-channel amplifier, HINT sentences and R-Space noise™, and Quest-1900 precision sound level meter. The R-Space system simulates an actual restaurant in Chicago and a reverberant room. The staff involved with the research in the WUHARL is Michael Valente and Kristi Oeding.

Several full text articles published through the Hearing Aid Research Laboratory can be found at the Division of Adult Audiology Digital Commons@Becker page.

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